Attorney general Letitia James requests calls for fines until Trump complies with order to turn over files related to his businesses
New York’s attorney general on Thursday asked a state judge to hold Donald Trump in contempt of court for not turning over documents she subpoenaed for her civil investigation into the former US president’s business practices.
In a court filing, attorney general Letitia James said Trump failed to abide by his earlier agreement to comply “in full” with her subpoena for documents and information by 31 March.
James asked that Trump be fined $10,000 a day until he complies.
“The judge’s order was crystal clear: Donald J Trump must comply with our subpoena and turn over relevant documents to my office,” James said in a statement.
She added: “Instead of obeying a court order, Mr Trump is trying to evade it. We are seeking the court’s immediate intervention because no one is above the law.”
Lawyers for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
James’s three-year investigation and a parallel criminal inquiry led by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, have focused on whether the Trump Organization misstated the values of its real estate properties to obtain favorable loans and tax deductions.
Last week James said her investigation had found “significant evidence” suggesting that for more than a decade the company’s financial statements “relied on misleading asset valuations and other misrepresentations to secure economic benefits”.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. He has called the investigation a “witch-hunt”.
The development was part of a double dose of bad legal news for Trump on Thursday.
Rejecting suggestions that he has lost interest in going after Trump, Bragg said a criminal investigation into Trump and his business practices was continuing “without fear or favor” despite a recent shakeup in its leadership.
In a rare public statement, Bragg denied the three-year investigation was winding down or that a grand jury term expiring this month would impede his office’s ability to bring charges.
Citing secrecy rules, Bragg said he could not discuss details of the investigation but pledged to publicly disclose findings when it is over.Advertisement
“In recent weeks, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been repeatedly asked whether our investigation concerning former President Donald J Trump, the Trump Organization, and its leadership is continuing,” Bragg wrote. “It is.”
Bragg’s statement, emailed to reporters and posted on social media, marked the district attorney’s first public comment on the closely watched Trump investigation since the two top deputies who had been leading it, Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, resigned in February in a dispute over the direction of the case.
Pomerantz, a former mafia prosecutor brought out of private practice last year to lead the Trump criminal investigation, wrote in his resignation letter that he believed Trump was “guilty of numerous felony violations” but that Bragg, who inherited the investigation when he took office in January, had decided not to pursue charges.
Bragg’s silence after the resignations and the 23 March publication of Pomerantz’s letter gave rise to a narrative that he was no longer interested in pursuing Trump and that the investigation was effectively dead.